tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC May 22, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT
thaupg nk you so much. president trump about to welcome south korea's president moon. the president chipping away at the independence of the justice department as he tries to investigate his own investigators. the newlyweds. the duke and duchess of sussex making their first appearance at a royal engagement. good day. we start at the white house where the president is about the meet with south korea's president moon. kristen welker is joining me there. phil rutger is here with us today. this is a very important meeting. we can probably expect judge frg what the south korean ambassador to the u.s. has written today that they are going to be all in
and try to persuade the president this is a hiccup on the way to the summit on june 12th. >> reporter: that's right. south korea's position will be that. south korea's going to work in concert with the united states to make sure that these talks do happen. that they get back on track but it comes in the wake of north korea flexing its muscles and backtracking to some extent threatening to pull out of talks after the u.s. and south korea pulled off pre-planned military exercises. they have said it was perfectly fine because these are routine exercises. that was seen by the president, by this white house as a reenforcement of the biggest concern which is north korea can't be trusted. they don't want a deal. the white house publicly saying we expected this from north korea all along but the reality is the president, the white
house really caught off guard by the last minute shift in position. south korea's president arriving here in i moment now with very high stakes. really trying to reassure a jittery president trump that north korea ultimately will negotiating in good faith. >> troubled from the start by the president quickly accepting the assertions from the south koreans before he had been properly briefed on it. agreeing to the summit. many people would say a good thing they're getting together but expecting them to completely denuclearize. are we expecting way too much from a country that has for 70 years been building this deterrent. >> it was a risky move for president trump to accept that invitation on the spot.
senior administration officials that i've heard from in the last few days are quite concerned this will fall apart. there's a sense this summit may end up not happening or may get postponed or a few iterations of planning for a summit and they try a few months down the road. they are not sure whether kim jong-un is going to be able to come to singapore and do this summit. the u.s. is beginning its preparations. >> we see the president's live pictures at the doorway to the west wing. the marine guards are there. president moon has been his ally. this is terribly important to president moon. he's really pushing for the summit in the hopes of leading normalization of relations, peace treaty. very important to the north korean economy, we're told. that's one of the reasons why kim wants it.
it will be played back. this is all happened while the white house is juggling some real escalation of the conflict between the white house and the justice department. we see now this meeting that's going to be held. the president is really taking a much more aggressive posture as are his allies on the hill. >> reporter: calling for the investigators to be investigated. president trump met with the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. christopher ray as well as daen coats. the intelligence community and called on the justice department to investigate the so called informant. the fbi informant who had contact with the trump campaign during the 2016 election.
the justice department agreeing to expand its investigation to look into that and in addition to have a briefing with members of congress, republicans on capitol hill as well as members of the intelligence community as the chief of staff john kelly here to look at some of the classifies information surrounding all of this. really an attempt, some would say, to discredit the investigation that's going on and you have that on capital hill as well. the freedom caucus today set the call for a second special counsel to look into how this investigation was started in first place. >> on that, they are calling for a second special konl. they've got a lot of leverage right now especially because paul ryan is so weakened in his lam duck status. there's talk the white house is pushing for kevin mccarthy to challenge him for speaker before
the mid term elections and they may actually have the votes to push this on to the floor for a second special counsel. >> they may. that would be a pretty extraordinary move but it just speaks to how much the political dynamic around the russia probe sort of broadly speaking as shifted in the last few weeks. to talk about the secret fbi source helping early on during the trump campaign and sow doubt in the operation that robert mueller is leading. >> let's bring in bryan hooks,
senior policy advisor to mike pompeo who held a number of senior positions in the bush administration and the former foreign policy advisor for mitt romney as well. great to see you at the state department. we want to talk to you about iran and the big speech given yesterday. you were with secretary of state pompeo. if you could give us your impressions of kim jong-un. you're one of the few westerners, along with dennis rodman, who can tell us what it's like in the hermit kingdom. >> it's really gratifying moment to be a part of that mission that was able to secure the release of three americans. it was a great day for american
diplomacy on the trip to pyongyang. secretary pompeo met with kim jong-un to start to lay the ground work for summit meeting between president trump and kim jong- jong-un. he's met twice with them. they've met twice to get ready for that summit. i think we're in a good position going forward. >> were you surprised by what some see as an obstacle and others see as a hiccup by them saying they were not going to go along with it. they cancelled the meeting with south korea. they seem to be blaming john bolton for describing this summit negotiation as similar to what the u.s. did with libya in g getti inting kadahfi to give up weapons. that was a bad predicate to put on the table. >> america has had about 27
years of nuclear diplomacy with north korea. we are looking ahead to june 12th in singapore. the president is seeing president moon today. we feel like we've done a lot of really important work over the last year. to try to achieve our national security goals. >> try to produce a memorial coin which declares that kim jong-un in this challenge coin is the supreme leader. is that appropriate? aren't we getting a little ahead of ourselourselves? >> i'm not familiar with what your citing. in addition to developing this architecture around a global
maximum pressure campaign and it's the largest pressure campaign that's been put in place in history with respect to north korea's missile program. you've had people hard at work getting ready for a possible summit. >> one financial question is the whole issue of whether or not it's too much to expect for kim jong-un to give up his weapons. we're putti inting ourselves in situation of too high expectations. should we expect this to be a more traditional negotiation. we have a lot of lever anl with the sanctions where we give something up and the goal is for us to get him to denuclearize. >> the president and his national security cabinet have
committed to not repeat the mistakes of the past. we have studied the diplomatic lessons learned from the last two or three decades of dealing with north korea. we go into this eyes wide open. determine not to represent the mistakes of the past but also presenting a very positive vision for north korea, the president has talked about a very bright future for the north korean people. if the regime is willing to give up their nuclear and missile program and they have every reason in the world to be going down that path to discussion a better future for their people and to also eliminate this threat to the american people and its allies. >> i want to you about the iran speech. there's been some criticism from conservative foreign policy quarte quarters. writing this is not dip employe.
is that all an or nothing position with the iran deal? >> i don't think that sort of statement is supported by history. so many of those objectives have been endorsed by the united states and its european allies. we have put in place, i think, a road map that we hope that nations who are sick and tired of iran's nuclear program and who are exhausted by iran's expansionism across the middle east. pouring gas line across civil regions, that's needs to end. it's not unrealistic or unreasonable to ask for those activities to stop. we're going to put in place a
pressure campaign to achieve those objectives. have we given up on europe and try to build another coalition around them. >> that's not the case. secretary pompeo has been in touch with the foreign ministers. he's been in regular touch with aur allies and partners in the middle east and asia. that will continue. e wi we think by separating the program and isolating that apart from the range was a mistake. >> there's been reaction, as you might expect, the senior
commander saying the speech frp the secretary of state was as wants to punch the u.s. secretary in the mouth. do you want to respond that? >> sounds like he's become unhinged. i'm not sure what to make of that. we're going be working very diligently now to develop a new security architecture that's going to benefit not only the iranian people but advance the safety and security of the united states. >> were you surprised by boris johnson, the foreign secretary from the uk coming out strongly yesterday against the pompeo speech? >> i didn't interpret it that
way. he said it's challenging list. it is a challenging list. these are all positions the international community believed in prior to the iran nuclear deal. secretary of state kerry has said that iran should not have right to enrich and president obama said the iran nuclear deal should end iran's nuclear program. these are the right objectives. they just weren't able to achieve them. we're going to be undertaking a dip employlomatic effort that w achieve those goals. >> thank you for taking the time today. coming up, taking on justice. house republicans latest effort to undermine the mueller probe. stay with us on msnbc.
many questions remain about the white house plan ordering intelligence and law officials to meet with congressional republican who is have been challenging the mueller investigation and review highly classified information. today republican lawmakers demanding the justice department go even further than letting the inspector general review the fbi's role as rod rosenstein said yesterday. thigh want a second special counsel and they have a resolution. >> it's time to allow the american people to know the truth. >> joining me now is jeremy bash, former chief of staff at the cia and pentagon msnbc legal
analyst. welcome both. jeremy, first to you. you're on the hill. you know the hill inside and out. this republican effort today with a somewhat vulnerable lame duck republican speaker. is this thing going to have legs? are they going the try to get a second special counsel? >> i don't think so. in my experience the congressional oversight over counter intelligence is very carefully done. always in manner not to interfere with any investigation and never to do anything that's nakedly or overtly political which is what appears to be the case here with republican leaders trying to interfere with a legitimate counter intelligence agency simply to protect the president. >> what we're seeing is interfering because they are demanding access to information
about a classified source and we don't know whether john kelly meeting that rosenstein is apparently being subjected to, that the president and john kelly have agreed to or have ordered, in fact, is going to be revealing sources. >> i think it's important, as you point out, we don't know what the didn't of justice has agreed to, turn over or reveal. really anything about the source is too much, i think. i want to mike a distinction here. it's not just because it's a classified source. i heard some people say classified did he recall, it's not about the level of -- it's not only about the level of security clearance whether it's classified or unclassified. a source in a criminal investigation who does work, who is covert, undercover, not out in the open, they're identity gets protected.
their d things about them are protected. it has nothing to do with national security classifications. many people have said already is that they aren't going to keep working with the government if we don't protect them and what's happening here has already damaged the bread and butter investigations in cases that are going on around the country in u.s. attorneys offices because every prosecutor will have a harder time saying to a junl dg why things need to be kept under seal. >> the president's charge is there was a spy embedded. that's been the republican charge and the accusation against the fbi. a spy embedded in the trump campaign. the reality, as far as we know, from the reporting is there was an informant who met with two or three members of the trump campaign because they were being very forward leaning on meetings with russians to even see whether there should be an
investigation before the investigation was launched. is that your understanding of it? >> i'm reading the same press reports you are. there was a human source who provide some assistance, information to the fbi. a human source is very sensitive. if we expose the identity of our human sources then we won't be able to conduct proper counter intelligen intelligence. i'm very prized the fbi destructor and deputidestruc de attorney general would meet with the president of the united states. i think they need to protect the sanctity of this investigation. we're investigating russia. we're investigating what a foreign add vversary underminedr
democracy. >> do you any they have taken too much? >> i can see referring a matter to the inspector general. i thought rod rosenstein public statement was good. i think he knew there was no inappropriate use of sources. i'm okay with that. what i'm not okay is them going to meet with the subject of investigation, discussing the state of the investigation and meeting with the subject of investigation's political allies on capitol hill or anywhere. >> to both you have, we're getting early reports from the report reporters, pool in the oval office with president trump and moon from south korea and apparently in answer to a question, here is a quote from the pool report. the president said if they -- if ray and rosenstein, the fbi
spied on the kpacampaign, it's disgrace to the country and would be unprecedented. mimi. >> that's true if they were spying. that's not what happened. he just keeps doing this talking point. there's some people who will just listen to the talking point. what happened is exactly as you said. a source was sent in. the least intrusive means to figure out why is this foreign power trying to get into the campaign. why are there all these people there having all these unexplained meetings with russians. they were trying to do something protective and he's turning it into something nefarious and it's just backwards. >> jeremy, with this coming to a head, it does seem some of this is taking hold with the president's political base when peter heart did a recent focus group.
they were repeating back in question, the phrase witch hunt. it's having an impact politically. >> i think public opinion will be governed by the facts. the only way the get the facts is to low the investigation to proceed. if we have political interference in a legitimate counter intelligence investigation, we'll not be able to get the facts and protect the country. >> thank you both so very much. coming up, friendly fire. did white house infighting derail the president's trade talks with china? [music playing] (vo) from day one, we always came through for our customers. it's how we earned your trust.
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great intelligence expert on north korea. that was his area when he was back in the cia and military. thinking we're asking for way too much. to ask them to give up their news and not have a phased negotiation here. expectation out of whack. >> i think it's important for the administration to align their message on this and expectations need to be appropriately set. we agree to the summit really in quite impulsive manner with the president agree in the meeting with south korean officials. we talked about the libya model which is not applicable to this. the iran deal complicated it as well. i think the administration will be asked to exceed what's in the iran deal. we made it more complicated an
need to get discipline. the key gap is understanding what each side means by denuclearization. i think that's what general clapper was getting to. the u.s. side seems to think the koreans will agree in one fell swoop to do away with their nuclear weapons and the north koreans have laid out a set of conditions, if you will. >> they had equipment. they didn't have weapons. >> much less complicated. >> this case is much more complicated than the iran case. >> between 20 and 90 weapons. >> it's a much more complicated program. we need to get some message discipline and get expect talat in the right place. it's unlikely we'll come to some
expectations. think about clear outcomes and follow up. i think what you'll probably see is a meeting followed by some principles announced and a process under way. it's really important not to give up anything concrete in the north koreans based on promises. they have said a will the of these things over the years beginning in 1992 about their willingness to denuclearize and they haven't done it. >> the president threatening them on trade and backing down after reportedly a really fierce force, even a shouting match in china. didn't even have to be eavesdropping. there was a fierce argument between our visiting trade and economic officials as to which way to go.
90% of the external economics goes through china. in fact, we both know kim jong-un has been the china twice since announcing he will meet with president trump. these are the only two times he's been out of country since he became leader in december 2011. >> would you buy into the speculation that china wanted to slow this down and that led to kim jong-un's second thoughts and the statement last week. i think china has an interest in this going forward. what's more likely is china was using the leverage they have in this circumstance in the trade talks. in other words, i think they saw they had some leverage in the trade talks of the necessity of these going forward. >> because we're too eager for it. i wanted to ask about a report on politico. they are saying the president is
using an insecure phone. he has multiple phones. one he uses for social media and twitter. the other he uses for phone calls. it has voice activation and camera making it vulnerable as other presidents have not been to being hacked. >> i saw the report. i don't know what devices. >> we have not confirmed this. >> i want to make sure that's clear. it's very prorimportant that the president not compromise security. i think it's important for the president to engage in best security practices. just last week you had the person in charge, an excellent person leave the white house and announce he's not going to replace them which is a really
big mistake given the importance of this issue. we can expect further pressure. this is a mistake not to set an example. >> we're expecting a cyber attack from iran. they are good at this and have done it before. >> that's right. i would no reason to believe that wouldn't be some of the next steps iran would take. >> always great to talk to you. thank you so much for being here. coming up, duke and duchess. we'll have all the details next. stay with us on msnbc. i had frequent heartburn, but my doctor recommended...
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>> it was fun. i'm loving those pictures from buckingham palace. meghan looks as if he was born into the role. she's a complete class act. where did he find this young woman? >> i think at the invictus game. >> i think it was a blind date. she's beautiful. she has poise. what i love too is she is proud of her heritage of her african-american heritage, of where she comes from. that service said it all. clearly she had a huge part role to play in that service. we can talk about the amazing things that happen there but at the same time where she's very lucky is she has prince harry, diana's son who is tough. he will not move from what he wants. he's in love with her and they're a great couple and clearly that combination has made something happen over the weekend that i've never seen
before. >> it came through so strongly. he has bought into all these arrangements, the gospel choir, the bishop. you saw the startled expressi s expressions. >> i think some of the royals are shocked. they never seen that at a royal wedding. i think it was terrific. that's andrews daughter there. kind of half laughing. i think that they would have been enjoying it because the royal family understand they need to change but the spectac lerks of a bishop preaching and referencing slavery in front of queen of england who goes back hundreds of years of british colonialism history. you can see sometimes i'm lost for words. >> do you think it was intentional that he was named the duke of sussex.
i understand the first duke of sussex was in favor of emancipating the slaving. i'm sure there are lots of things that are intentional here. you don't have to read between the lines when you look at the bucki buckingham website with a quote from meghan saying i'm proud to be a feminist. they are allowing her to really be herself. as snanyone who has seen the crown, think about the pain that members of this royal family have been through when they told they can't marry a certain person. they can't say a certain thing and restricted by the position they are in. the difference, seeing harry with meghan like that and what he's enabling her to be and to say is incredible. >> the reverent michael curry was on the today show. let's listen to what he had so
say. >> they aren't known for being loud but i've learned to be able to hear an amen by looking in their eyes. i was looking in the eyes of people who were there and doing quite british amen. >> a quiet british amen. >> maybe. maybe. a very quite british amen. remember if you're in the pews there and a member of the royal family, you're seeing this play out in realtime. it's history being made. you know your reaks are being watched by the cameras and hard to know how to react so camilla is leaning down with her hat. she's moving like this. it's hard to tell whether she's laughing and trying to control her laughter and her pleasure seeing the doors blown open of this allegedly deep conservative institution. let me say this about the way this is con textualized in the world we live in now, isn't it
stunning we have these elected politicians who seem to be espousing us, closing doors and getting to our own -- >> and monarchy is opening up. >> unelected pope francis e espouzing something different. the world is turning upside down in bad ways and in good ways. >> when i had the honor of meeting her majesty, we were told you don't talk this. you can talk about dogs, the weather. her conversation was completely modern and contrary even back then. >> she, as you know, knows that in order to you are survive, the royal family have to change. they understand that pro foundly. if you look back in history, they have changed their surname in order to keep up with the times from a german surname to an english surname. this is a family that know how
to survive. i think it's more than that. i think something profound is happening with prince harry and his new wife. i think it shouldn't be lost he's the son of diana. she's like she put a time bomb in him and it's exploding within the royal family. >> amazing. thank you so very much. we'll be right back with the president's comments to the pool when he talked about everything. we'll have that tape for you. stay with us.
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voters heading to the polls in key primary races. if four reliably republican states. joining me, susan page, and nbc news national political correspondent steve kornacki at the big board. steve, what are we watching? >> couple of exciting races to keep an eye on. number one, the race for governor for georgia. an interesting strategic choice here for democrats in that state and maybe nationally. stacy abrams making the argument that hey, the whole idea of bringing republicans into the fold, that's not the way to win elections in the trump era.
you try to maximize excitement, maximize their interest, increase turnout, increase support there. on the other side, stacey heav saying you want to win in georgia, you got to have a message that appeals to trump voters. another one in the sixth district of kentucky, you've got the democratic primary there to keep an eye on. a lot going on, andrea. >> a lot of women out there, women, as steve was just pointing out, this could be pivotal, especially for democrats. >> yes, it certainly could. stacy abrams, she would be the first african-american woman elected governor in any state ever in the united states, amy mcgrath in the kentucky district that steve cokornacki was just spotlighting, also first-time
runner, first-time candidate for office, but she has come on strong. she has a great story to tell. a former marine combat pilot. who really broke ground for women in the armed services. taking on a candidate with more establishment backing who got actually recruited, the former mayor of lexington, kentucky, recruited to run by the establishment. that is a race we will see whether a new woman candidate does well. and whether the energy is with the establishment or some more grassroots candidates. >> that's going to be an abbreviated political wrap. steam wraps everything up. we're about to see this tape. this is a long apparently very, varied explanation, the president speaking with president moon about the upcoming korean summit which apparently is on, what his expectations are, talking about china, talking about zte, some of the controversial decisions made on trade and on withdrawing tariff, so let's look at the president in the oval office with president moon from south
korea. a very important presummit meeting. >> thank you very much. it's a great honor to have president moon of south korea with us. we've become great friends over the years. it's now -- we've now known each other for quite some time. we're working on many things. obviously north korea is the big one. no matter how big trade is, north korea in this case is the big one. and we'll be discussing that. we'll also be discussing trade. we have a very big trade arrangement that we're renegotiating right now with south korea. they've been excellent people to work with for the trump administration. and we will have some pretty good news i think on trade. and we'll be discussing other things. but the big topic will be singapore and the meeting, see what happens, whether or not it happens. if it does, that will be a great thing for north korea. and if it doesn't, that's okay too. whatever it is, it is.
>> as we hear president moon is talking about looking forward to the summit. he also expressed condolences for the terrible deaths from friday's school shooting in santa fe. in texas. and my korean is not very good. we were expecting a translation here, but apparently summit is back on track. at least as far as the south
koreans and the president of the united states are concerned. we do know that the joint military exercises were scaled back significantly despite white house denials that was going to take place. the b-52s have not been engaged. they said that was a south korean preference. the south koreans have been very forward leaning wanting the summit to take place. we're also watching as the president has been closely a lined with president moon. president moon has been -- since his election a year or so ago, pushing very strongly toward reunification with the north and the first obstacle and most important obstacle to that of course is the nuclear weapons. >> i know you have a very busy domestic calendar as well as the all-important summit approaching. i hope the tragic news that many
innocent lives were lost in the shootings in the texas high school a few days ago, so i'd like to convey my condolences to you and the america people. i'd like to congratulate you for the safe return of the american citizens who have been detained in north korea. thanks to your vision of achieving peace through strength as well as your strong leadership. we were looking forward to the first ever u.s./north korean summit. we find ourselves standing one step closer to the dream of achieving denuclearization on the korean peninsula. all this was possible because of you, mr. president, and i have no doubt that you will be able to accomplish a historic feat that no one had been able to achieve in the decades past. i have to say that the fate and the future of the korean peninsula hinge on this. as such, i'll spend no effort to the end to support the success of the summit and stand with you all along the way, mr. president. >> thank you very much.
>> mr. president, mr. president -- >> i do think he's serious. i think he would like to see that happen. at the same time, he's going into a future that's different than what they've had. i think he's absolutely very serious, yes. >> mr. president, can you -- >> one second, please. go ahead. >> can you give us an update just on where things stand with the summit? president moon's national security adviser, on the way here, seemed to think things are on track and that this will happen. >> we're moving along. we'll see what happens. there are certain conditions we want. if we get those conditions, we don't have the meeting. frankly, it's a chance to be a great, great meeting for north korea and a great meeting for the world. if it doesn't happen, maybe it will happen later. maybe it will happen at a different time. but we will see. but we are talking. the meetings scheduled as you
know on june 12th in singapore. whether or not it happens, you'll be knowing pretty soon, but we're talking right now. >> an idea of how the denuclearization will take place? >> i do, i have a very strong idea how it will take place. it must take place. but i have a very strong idea and i have very strong opinions on the subject. i also have very strong opinions that north korea has achance to be a great country. and it can't be a great country under these circumstances that they're living right now. but north korea has a chance, really, to be a great country. and i think they should seize the opportunity and we'll soon find out whether or not they want to do that. yes. >> mr. president, have you spoken to kim jong-un? >> i don't want to say that. i don't want to say. there's no reason to discuss that. i can say this, for a short period of time, we've been dealing with north korea, and it's been a, you know, good experience. we have three hostages back. they're home. they're living with their
families. they're very, very happy. i can only speak to a very short period of time. it's been a relationship that seems to be working. we'll see how long it continues to work. hopefully, it's going to work for a long time. >> can you tell us more about your meeting with rod rosenstein and director wray yesterday? >> a very routine meeting. as you know, the congress would like to see documents opened up. a lot of people are saying they had spies in my campaign. if they had spies in my campaign that would be a disgrace for this country. that would be one of the biggest insults that anyone's ever seen and it would be very illegal, aside from everything else. it would make probably every political event ever look like small potatoes. so we want to make sure that there weren't. i hope there weren't, frankly. but some man got paid, based on what i read in the newspaper, and on what you reported, some person got paid a lot of money. that's not a normal